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Should we give up freedom for security?

Dark Politricks
Saturday 16th January 2010

Benjamin Franklin once said the following famous quote:

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

It seems we are currently living in a world full of people that deserve neither freedom not safety as everyday I read articles on the mainstream media about an essential need to give up some liberties so as to protect our safety when travelling. The recent Christmas day bomb attempt on Flight 253 to Detroit has been the latest catalyst for yet more intrusive measures such as the clamour to introduce full body scanners. Not only will we now be subjected to virtual strip searches when boarding planes but there is also talk of mobile scanners that will be deployed in all public places such as shopping malls, football grounds and train stations.

Not only will these scanners not actually prevent the next terrorist attack they will just be used as a stepping stone on the way to introduce even more degrading and liberty destroying measures such as ankle bracelets that can deliver incapacitating electric shocks or microchips so that your movements can be monitored everywhere. If you think I am delving into the world of “conspiracy theory” then you should read this article on how buildings, walls and cars are being connected to the internet to enable geo-tagging of your movements at any time. Is it so far fetched to believe that a few more terrorist attacks down the line the next magic solution to be offered would be mandatory chips or bracelets? If you want to see how easy it would be to introduce a chipped populace read this article.

In fact microchips aren’t even necessary to monitor you as you leave your home to go to work and then out at night again as for most people it’s already possible through their mobile phone or blackberry using their inbuilt GPS systems. Before long all credit cards, driving licences, cars and even your clothes will all be fitted with RFID for “security” reasons if they are not already. In Japan some cars are already fitted with devices that enable automatic speed reduction so when you enter a 30mph zone your car is prevented from going over that speed limit and there has been talk of introducing such a system in the UK to enable mile by mile road pricing.

So the technology is already there to enable such a big brother nightmare scenario the only thing stopping the government from actually monitoring you and me is that we are not yet classed as terrorists or criminals. However as history shows once a government has got special powers to fight terrorism they rarely give them up on their own accord and the definition of what constitutes a terrorist often changes.

The UK’s anti-terrorism laws have already been abused by the Labour government more than once. Who can forget Walter Wolfgang the 82 year old pensioner who was thrown out the Labour conference for heckling and arrested under anti-terror laws and more recently during the banking crisis Gordon Brown invoked anti-terrorism laws to freeze Iceland’s bank assets. These are just two very well known examples of abuse and there have probably been many more instances that we don’t know about.

This is the problem with terrorism and a “war on terror” as it can only end when the government wants it to. There will always be groups of people around the world unhappy with our foreign policy and if they try to do something about it will most likely have the label of terrorist applied to them. So how will we know when we have won this war on terror? Who do we sit down with to sign any peace or surrender treaty? No-one that’s who and from this perspective “terror” is the ideal enemy for any government to fight as there will always be a big bad bogey man to become the next Bin Laden and to be used to scare the naive into signing away more of our freedoms.

The terror laws give the government extraordinary powers and a constant fear of terrorist attacks allows the government to implement security and monitoring measures that they couldn’t possibly get during peace time. Once these powers have been gained they are often abused and extended and the definition of who constitutes a terrorist often widens to take in other groups of people that the government may dislike.

How long is it before anti Heathrow expansion protesters or G20 demonstrators are locked up for 28 days under terror laws? If you don’t think it will happen you should just take a look at America as they are already starting to widen the description of what constitutes a terrorist to include pro 2nd amendment groups, Ron Paul & Bob Barr supporters, ex military men returning from active duty and even people who believe in the constitution or have pro freedom bumper stickers.

Its only a matter of time in my opinion and if we keep on allowing our government to move the line of what’s acceptable and whats not in terms of privacy versus security just because technology has expanded then we might as well say goodbye to any concept of freedom now. Its very easy to give freedoms up but very hard to regain them so we should think very carefully before allowing our government to intrude so far into our lives.

If we really want to make the world a safer place and reduce the threat of terrorism on our shores and in the skies then we should re-consider our wars of aggression, our treatment of the developing world as a place to obtain cheap labour and raw materials  as well as our hypocritical one sided support of Israel against the Palestinian people. However much we as a people may want to make such changes I unfortunately believe that our government and the people controlling them don’t. They would rather continue on a path that makes terrorist attacks more likely and the increased power over our lives that they get as a consequence is seen by them as a very nice side affect.

When did George Orwell’s 1984 become a guide to politicians on how to run the country instead of a warning from history? – Dark Politricks

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  1. uberVU - social comments linked to this post on January 24, 2010

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  2. Amerika, A modern day East Germany | Dark Politricks linked to this post on August 1, 2010

    […] should be a chilling warning to anyone concerned with the war on terror. We have seen here in the UK how the numerous anti terrorism laws have been misused by Police officers to prevent photographers from recording police assaults on the streets and in […]

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